New Orioles Harvey, Plutko and Franco lead the way in 2nd straight win over Red Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

New Orioles Harvey, Plutko and Franco lead the way in 2nd straight win over Red Sox

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BOSTON—Through two games, it’s not the long ball that has helped the Oriole record two wins. It’s the small ball.

On Saturday, the Orioles had eight hits, seven singles, including a key two-run single by third baseman Maikel Franco in the fourth, and defeated the Boston Red Sox for the second straight time, 4-2, before 4,571 at Fenway Park.

Two other newcomers, starter Matt Harvey and reliever Adam Plutko, also delievered clutch performances. Plutko relieved Harvey with two outs in the fifth and worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and striking out two, for the win.

Dillon Tate worked an efficient 11-pitch eighth inning. César Valdez made things interesting in the ninth, allowing the first two batters to reach and missing the strike zone badly before he worked out of the jam to gain his second save in as many days.

Even though Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said before the game that he wanted to avoid using Valdez, he went back to his 36-year-old closer. As a result, the Orioles are 2-0 for the first time since 2017 when they began the season 4-0.

“It’s really satisfying to win really close, well-pitched ballgames,” Hyde said. “Being able to take advantage of opportunities, having good at-bats, up and down the order, good defense in important times. That’s how you win in this league. That’s how you win late in the year. That’s how you win in the postseason … For the most part we’ve done that for a couple of days.”

When the Orioles acquired Plutko a week ago, they envisioned him fulfilling a variety of roles. He has experience as a starter and a long man in relief.

“Today he filled the big spot where he got multiple outs in the middle part of the game,” Hyde said. “That was more than I expected.”

Plutko didn’t overanalyze the situation.

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“I don’t really think it’s really deep,” he said. “You go out there, you get outs. You string a lot of them together, you’ll be successful. If you don’t, you won’t.”

Plutko displayed a playful sense of humor in his first meeting with the Baltimore media.

“To get two wins right out of the bat, we’re going to go 162-0, obviously, and keep it rolling,” he joked.

Franco’s two-run single in the fourth, rightfielder Anthony Santander’s run-scoring infield single in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by first baseman Trey Mancini in the seventh accounted for the Orioles’ runs.

Catcher Pedro Severino had the only extra-base hit, a leadoff double in the fifth. Severino, who scored on Santander’s infield hit, had his second consecutive two-hit day.

Harvey is solid: In his first game with the Orioles, Harvey allowed two runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one and threw 86 pitches.

“It was all right,” Harvey said. “Getting into a couple of jams and then being able to get out of it, especially early in the game, that was huge for us to get to the point where we did and win the game eventually. I’m kicking myself to not get out of the fifth.”

The Orioles led, 3-1, and with two outs and two on. J.D. Martinez lined a ball off Harvey’s thigh, which landed between Mancini and second baseman Rio Ruiz and scored Kevin Plawecki with the second run. Hyde lifted Harvey at that point.

“I’ve been hit a few times,” he said. “It’s nice putting the extra work in during the offseason on the legs … It’s nothing. I should have gotten my glove in front of it. I think in my older age (32), my reaction time is getting a little slow.”

Harvey’s next start is scheduled for the home opener on Thursday, also against the Red Sox.

“Overall, I think it was a solid first start and just try build off of that for next time,” Harvey said. “Any time you win the first series of the year, it’s big. We’ve got some good momentum now. Obviously, it’s only two games, but coming here with a good ballclub, you’ve got to play well, and guys pitched great after me.”

Ruiz back at 2nd: Rio Ruiz had an uneventful second day at second base after making three outstanding plays on Friday.  He had four routine chances, and none at third, where he again moved for the ninth inning.

Ruiz said it wasn’t difficult to answer Hyde when he broached a change in positions from third to second after the Orioles acquired Franco.

“It was a quick yes. I didn’t want to let him finish his question,” Ruiz said.

There is an adjustment at second.

“The angles and how much time you have,” Ruiz said. “Third base is all reaction. Second base, you still have to react, and you have to cover more ground, but you have more room to work with.”

Odds and ends: DJ Stewart, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring is getting close to being able to play, according to Hyde … Severino is the third Oriole catcher to begin the season with consecutive multi-hit games. Francisco Peña, in 2016, was the most recent … No home runs have been hit in the first two games by either team. Hyde said that in warmer weather, there would have been a few balls hit out. “The weather here is cold, and the ball’s not traveling like normally in the summer,” he said.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Beachdogs

    April 3, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Whatusay we get the brooms out? Another nice team win!!

    • Shamus

      April 3, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      Beachdogs in the house!!!!

  2. Bhoffman1

    April 3, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Curious what was Harvey’s fastball clocked at? He all positive about improving that’s the mentality you have when once you were a all star starter and top five pitcher in the majors. I won’t get into my opinion of moving the all star game because again this site should not be political but no matter what your views are not being able to give a bottle of water to a senior citizen waiting in line to drink is barbaric. I could never understand one stat pajama man would post here but still I hope he returns

    • CalsPals

      April 3, 2021 at 6:06 pm

      I saw one at 95, 90-94 was avg, they seem pretty flat, not much movement, poor Valdez had me concerned, but he gutted out his appearance, I couldn’t get the O’s channel, only NESN, their announcers were very condescending about the O’s…guess they showed them…lol…go O’s…

    • Kjbsball

      April 3, 2021 at 7:06 pm

      Agree. Harvey threw “faster” than I expected but was more encouraged by him hitting his spots. Still uneasy about him looking ahead. (But tons of respect for going all the way down to a NJ baseball academy – and actually listening- to fix things. I think Holt and Holmes might be good coaches too. I don’t like Hyde’s commitment to Valdez as the closer. Can’t crack 80 and junkballers can get in trouble if batters lay off. Almost cost a precious win today tbh. Reminds me exactly of his same commitment to Sulser last year.

    • CalsPals

      April 3, 2021 at 7:19 pm

      Agree with the commitment to Valdez as a closer, if he’s pounding the strike zone I’d rather see Scott closing…go O’s…

    • BrooksPJs

      April 3, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      A footnote on page 71 of the bill says: “This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer … from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.”

      The provision is intended to prevent political partisans from approaching waiting voters, handing them water, or food, or gifts, or whatever — then urging them to vote for so-and-so. That is called voter solicitation.

    • Bhoffman1

      April 3, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      Give me a break

    • DcOsfan

      April 3, 2021 at 11:28 pm

      Closer by committee might be best until someone steps up and grabs the job. My bet is on Tanner.
      Voter solicitation is already prohibited. However approaching someone in line just to converse, without attempting voter solicitation is not. Why can’t the same person offer food or drink without solicitation?

    • CalsPals

      April 4, 2021 at 7:01 am

      What happened to “this is my last post here”…good lord…go O’s…

  3. PC in OC

    April 3, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    We are in, First Place! I will say it again, WE R IN, FIRST PLACE.

  4. PC in OC

    April 3, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    His fast ball, was clocked t 95

    • Icterus fan

      April 3, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      Agree with Tanner Scott as closer. O’s do have some good arms for middle relief/closer. I watched Sulser struggle last year – his fastball didn’t seem to be “sneaky”. Not much of a wrinkle in it, but Hyde gave him ample opportunity and hopefully he improves.
      Scott just looks nasty on the mound.
      What’s everyone’s thoughts on Franko defensively thus far? He made the play on a 108 mph shot down there today
      I’m liking the hustle, going with the pitch, etc. good stuff!

    • Kjbsball

      April 3, 2021 at 9:18 pm

      I think both of the old Phils – galvis and franco – are professionals and will do a decent job. I am actually really surprised that in the late innings of both games he pulled Franco for Ruiz and popped in urias at 2b. I didn’t expect that but there’s a poster on here who posts a lot of advanced defensive stats that might explain why (although I thought I recalled Franco having better def stats idk )

  5. dlgruber1

    April 3, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    I had to take a screenshot of the standings. It’s been a while.

  6. Bhoffman1

    April 3, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    DJ is greeting ready to play but where does he get a spot on the roster?

    • Bhoffman1

      April 3, 2021 at 11:44 pm

      Getting lol

    • dlgruber1

      April 4, 2021 at 2:24 am

      The only thing I see is trading him. I know it won’t bring much but he does deserve a chance somewhere and I don’t see it happening here. With the outfield they have now and knowing that Diaz, and hopefully Kjerstad are not too far away I just don’t see him fitting in. I actually think if he can stay healthy and get regular AB’s he could be a MLB player on a regular basis. I wish him the best, I just don’t think it’ll be in Baltimore.

    • CalsPals

      April 4, 2021 at 7:04 am

      Agree dl, hard to get playing time for all of them, not sure the best answer…go O’s…

  7. B.C. Bird

    April 4, 2021 at 9:00 am

    I kinda like Plutko, so refreshing not to listen to the same old hackneyed quotes following the game. He may even be some help down the line
    Keep the faith

    • Icterus fan

      April 4, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Yep. Agree. Plutko was refreshingly to the point and candid. No pre digested canned responses or safe BS.

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